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237 Posts

Pinned topic Is the mobile access concept becoming irrelevant?

‏2008-04-17T18:39:25Z |
Hello All,

I wanted to ask your opinion about a mobile access related issue that has been boggling my mind recently. We want to develop a rich internet application interface using AJAX and all for PC browsers and simplified interface for mobile device browsers. I'm assuming it would be very problematic to try to dumb down an AJAX-based UI to adapt to mobile devices so a separate UI might be needed for mobile devices - in a way, you have to have two UIs rather than one unified UI that adapts to both PCs and mobile devices. In the past, the gap between mobile device browsers and PC browsers were so vast that it made sense to have two separate UIs, where the PC browser UI provides a very rich experience with AJAX and similar techonologies. But then new generation devices such as the iPhone and iPhone-alikes which support AJAX muddy up the waters between PC browsers and mobile device browsers so there now seems to appear a continuum between mobile devices and PCs - rather than two separate groups: PC browsers and mobile device browsers. As iPhone and iPhone-alikes become more widespread this continuum will become more and more visible and the two groups will merge. This will cause the concept of mobile device access to become irrelevant since then PC browsers will simply be at the extreme edge of one and the same continuum that includes all device browsers. Hence PC browsers won't need to be treated in a fundamentally different way than mobile device browsers - they can simply be viewed as device browsers that have the highest level of capability (sophisticated JavaScript support, large screen, etc).

This evolution is causing me to rethink the virtue of developing two separate UIs for PC browsers and mobile devices. Today it might make sense but a year or two down the line when iPhone-alikes have significant market penetration it might be a bad choice.

In a way, iPhone is setting off a trend that might be great for web-based UI developers: we may not need to worry about treating mobile access as a separate UI scenario. However we may end up having to worry about a more complicated than ever array of browsers that have varying capabilities.

I would like to hear your comments regarding these projections. Do you agree or disagree?

Thank you,